Get inked: Tattoo artists inundated with requests
AS QUEENSLANDERS this week entered Stage 2 of the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, tattoo parlours were also able to reopen their doors.
The move allowed those who had turned 18 during the lockdown to book in for their first tattoo as well as those who were grieving the loss of a loved one in the past couple of months to mark their mourning.
Sarah Drury, who owns Whitsunday Tattooing Airlie Beach and Airlie Lashes and Brows by Sarah with partner Aaron Prosser, said she was concerned people wouldn't have the spare money for a tattoo, however, both shops quickly booked out.
Airlie Lashes and Brows by Sarah opened about three weeks ago, and Whitsunday Tattooing opened on Tuesday.
"I was worried there would be a downturn with people not coming to Airlie, but it's been going well. We've been booked out. I'm pretty happy," Ms Drury said.
She said many of the bookings were from locals as well as clients from Mackay and Bowen.
"Everybody was saying, 'I've been itching to get a tattoo - I've had all this time to think about what sort of tattoo I want to get!'
"People are coming in and they've planned their pictures properly."
Ms Drury said there had been a couple of people who had wanted a tattoo in remembrance of a family member who had died during lockdown.
"People who have had relatives die are wanting to get tattoos to remember them.
"For some people, something bad has happened or they want to remember something.
"It feels good making someone feel a bit happier in such a horrible time.
"There's a few people who get their tattoo and then have a cry and give you a big hug because it feels so good to have it - so you feel pretty good on the inside to help them out."
She said some people aged in their late 60s or 70s booked in because they had "thought about it properly" and had decided to get their first tattoo.
"The other side of it is more spontaneous - there's people who just want a tattoo and so get one.
"There's a lot of people who turned 18 during coronavirus and are now coming out to get their tattoos."
Ms Drury said customers had all been "happy" to use the hand sanitisers provided and fill out the required COVID-19 forms.
"Everyone has been really understanding which is really good.
"I think everyone is quite happy that things are getting back to normal.
"There's people on the beach, there's cars around, there's people downtown - there's people everywhere."
She said that while tattooists and beauty therapists couldn't socially distance during treatments, they were ensuring there was no more than four people in reception at a time.
Ms Drury said she was now hoping that discounts on flights and upcoming school holidays would attract more people and more business to the region.
Tattoo artist Nigel Martin from Jade's Temple Tattoo and Piercing in Proserpine said the parlour had opened on Wednesday and was taking bookings.
"We have lots of phone bookings coming in, and we're pretty full from Friday onwards for the next week or two.
"It's good to reopen and to start seeing all our regular clients as well again."
He said updated COVID-19 safety plans were being followed, including stickers on the floor to help social distancing and notifications on the windows.
"The tattoo industry is super clean anyway - we just don't take the risk.
"Everything we use is disposable and we have sanitiser everywhere."
Mr Martin said there were two tattoo artists, so mostly only four people in the shop at a time.